`Ali Pledging Allegiance to Abu Bakr

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Chapter Two

 

In the first part of the Siddiqi section the majority of the discussions were centred on Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. In the second part I wish to expound on two topics:

  1. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had immediately pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu just like all the other Sahabah and had accepted the caliphate of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, He had accepted him to be the rightful successor of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
  2. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would perform his five times daily salah in the masjid behind Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He would not read his prayers by himself nor would he form his own congregation to perform them.
 

I have thereafter brought a chapter titled “summary and conclusion”. In this chapter I have presented the crux of this entire part whereupon it will culminate.

Both these discussions will make one realise that there existed no enmity and hatred amongst these pious bondsmen of Allah. They supported one another and had unity and love amongst themselves. They were the epitomes of Ruhama’ Baynahum.

 

‘Ali Pledging Allegiance to Abu Bakr

 

Narrations That Establish the Bay’ah

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam without any delay, i.e. he had pledged allegiance to him within three days from the death of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The claims that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had not pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu at all, or that he only pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu six months after the demise of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, or that he had — because of being coerced by others — outwardly pledged allegiance without any willingness from his side; are erroneous. These claims are contrary to reality and are the result of the additions of some of the narrators. Furthermore, those who have raised these claims have dramatized them a great deal before popularising them among the people.

Ahead I shall present before you a few narrations that appear in the books of hadith and the books of history. These narrations have been cited by the scholars in substantiation of the immediate bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

Hafiz Ibn Kathir has presented the forthcoming narrations in his book al Bidayah wa al Nihayah:

 

قد اتفق الصحابة رضي الله عنهم علي بيعة الصديق في ذلك الوقت حتي علي بن أبي طالب و الزبير والدليل علي ذلك ما رواه البيهقي حيث قال …. حدثنا وهيب ثنا داود بن أبي هند ثنا أبونضرة عن إبي سعيد الخدري قال قبض رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم واجتمع الناس في دار سعد بن عبادة و فيهم أبوبكر وعمر قال وقام خطيب الأنصار فقال أتعلمون أن رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم كان من المهاجرين ونحن كنا أنصار رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فنحن أنصار خليفته كما كنا أنصاره قال فقام عمر بن الخطاب فقال صدق قائلكم أما لو قلتم غير هذا لم نبايعكم فأخذ بيد أبي بكر وقال هذا صاحبكم فبايعوه فبايعه عمر و بايعه المهاجرون و الأنصار وقال فصعد أبوبكر المنبر فنظر في وجوه القوم فلم ير الزبير قال فدعا الزبير فجاء قال قلت ابن عمة رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم وحواريه أردت أن تشق عصا المسلمين قال لا تثريب يا خليفة رسول الله قام فبايعه ثم نظر في وجوه القوم فلم ير عليا فدعا بعلي بن أبي طالب قال قلت أبن عم رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم و ختنه علي ابنته أردت أن تشق عصا المسلمين قال لا تثريب يا خليفة رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فبايعه أو معناه.

All the Sahabah, including ‘Ali and al Zubair, had unanimously accepted the caliphate of Abu Bakr. The proof of this is the narration cited by Imam al Bayhaqi which reads as follows:

Abu Sa’id al Khudri narrates that after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam the people had convened at the residence of Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah. Amongst them were Abu Bakr and ‘Umar as well. A person from the Ansar stood up and said, “Do you realise that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was from the Muhajirin, and we were his Ansar, supporters, therefore, we shall be the supporters of his successor as well.” ‘Umar thereupon stood up and remarked, “Behold! Your speaker has spoken the truth. If you (the Ansar) said anything other than this we would never have pledged allegiance to you.” He then held the hand of Abu Bakr and said, “Here is your companion! So pledge your allegiance to him.” Hence, ‘Umar pledged his allegiance to him and so did the Muhajirin and the Ansar. Abu Bakr then came to the masjid settled on the pulpit and glanced at the congregation. He did not find al Zubair. He thus called for him. Al Zubair came. Abu Bakr said to him, “You are the son of the aunt of Rasulullah and his close companion, do you intend to destroy the unity of the Muslims?” He responded, “O Khalifah of Rasulullah! I am not to be reproached (for I have come to pledge my allegiance).” He thereafter stood up and pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Abu Bakr again gazed at the congregation and did not find ‘Ali. He summoned him, and when he came, said to him, “You are the son of the uncle of Rasulullah and his son-in-law, do you wish to destroy the unity of the Muslims?” ‘Ali said, “O Khalifah of Rasulullah! I am not to be reproached.” He then stood up and pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr.[1]

 

قال أبو علي الحافظ النيسابوري سمعت محمد بن إسحاق بن خزيمة يقول جاءني مسلم بن الحجاج القشيري فسألني عن هذا الحديث فكتبته له في ورقة (رقعة) وقرأت عليه فقال هذا حديث يسوي بدنة فقلت بل هذا يسوي بدرة.

Abu ‘Ali al Hafiz al Nisapuri mentions: “I heard Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Khuzaimah say, ‘Muslim ibn Hajjaj al Qushayri came to me and asked me about this narration, so I wrote it for him on a piece of paper and read it to him. He remarked, ‘This hadith is as valuable as a camel of sacrifice.’ I said, ‘Instead it is as valuable as a bag filled with a hundred silver coins.’”[2]

 

وقد رواه الإمام أحمد عن الثقة عن وهيب مختصرا

Imam Ahmed has cited a condensed version of this narration via the transmission of Wuhayb.[3]

 

وأخرجه الحاكم في مستدركه من طريق عفان بن مسلم من وهيب مطولا كنحو ما تقدم”

Al Hakim has cited the lengthy version of this narration in his Mustadrak through the transmission of Wuhayb.[4]

 

The summary of the narration which appears in Mustadrak al Hakim is presented ahead:

 

Abu Sa’id al Khudri reports that when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away the orators of the Ansar stood up and one of them said, “O Muhajirin! When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would send one of you as his governor (or his representative to collect the zakat of the Muslims) then he would send one of us with you as well. The caliphate, likewise, should be bilateral; a leader from us and leader from you.”

Abu Sa’id mentions that all the orators of the Ansar spoke along the same lines. Thereafter Zaid ibn Thabit stood up and said, “Most certainly the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a Muhajir and the leader should thus be from the Muhajirin and just as we the Ansar had supported him during his lifetime we will support his successor as well.” Abu Bakr thereupon stood up and remarked, “O the Ansar! May Allah compensate you with good. Your speaker Zaid ibn Thabit has given a good suggestion.” He further added, “we were not going to enter into any sort of agreement had you suggested anything other than this.” Zaid ibn Thabit was the first to advance towards Abu Bakr and pledge his allegiance. He said, “This is your leader so pledge your allegiance to him.” after pledging their allegiance to Abu Bakr they all dispersed.

Abu Bakr had later ascended the pulpit. He could not spot ‘Ali at the time. He therefore, asked about him. A few Ansar had gone to the house of ‘Ali and they brought him along. Abu Bakr said to him, “You are the son of the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his son-in-law. Do you want that the unity of the Muslims be shattered?” he replied, “I am not to be reproached (because I have presented myself to pledge allegiance).”

Similarly he had enquired about the absence of Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam. A few people went and brought him along with them. Abu Bakr had likewise said to him, “You are the son of the aunt of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his close associate! Do you want to shatter the unity of the Muslims?” He replied in the same way, “O Khalifah of Rasulullah! I am not to be reprimanded.” Thereafter they both pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr.[5]

 

وروينا من طريق المحاملي عن القاسم بن سعيد بن المسيب عن علي عن عاصم عن الحريري عن أبي نضرة عن أبي سعيد الخدري فذكر مثله في مبايعة علي والزبير يومئذ.

Ibn Kathir mentions: “This narration has reached us through the transmission of al Muhamili. He narrates from al Qasim from Sa’id ibn al Musayyib from ‘Asim from al Hariri from Abu Nadrah from Abu Sa’id al Khudri. The content of the narration is just as the previous narration that ‘Ali and al Zubair had pledged allegiance on the very same day.”[6]

 

قال ابن كثير: هذا إسناد صحيح محفوظ من حديث أبي نضرة المنذر ابن مالك بن قطعة عن أبي سعيد سعد بن مالك بن سنان المنذري وفيه فائدة جليلة وهي مبايعة علي ابن أبي طالب إما في أول يوم أو في اليوم الثاني من الوفاة وهذا حق فإن علي بن أبي طالب لم يفارق الصديق في وقت من الأوقات ولم ينقطع في صلوة من الصلوات خلفه كما سنذكره وخرج معه إلي ذي القصة لما خرج الصديق شاهرا سيفه يريد قتال أهل الردة كما سنبينه قريبا.

Ibn Kathir states: “This chain of transmission of al Muhamili is authentic and preserved through the transmission of Abu Nadrah al Mundhir ibn Malik ibn Qit’ah, the narrator from Abu Sa’id al Khudri. In this narration there is a very pertinent point; viz. ‘Ali had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr one or two days after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is the truth in this regard. ‘Ali did not remain aloof from Abu Bakr at any time, to the extent that he would not miss the five times daily prayers with him. Similarly ‘Ali had accompanied Abu Bakr when he waged war against the people of Dhu al Qassah when they had denounced the faith of Islam.”[7]

 

قال موسي بن عقبة في مغازيه عن سعد بن إبراهيم “حدثني أبي أن أباه عبد الرحمن بن عوف كان مع عمر وإن محمد بن مسلمة كسر سيف الزبير ثم خطب أبو بكر واعتذر إلي الناس وقال والله ما كنت حريصا علي الإمارة يوما ولاليلة ولا سألتها في سر ولا علانية فقبل المهاجرون مقالته وقال علي والزبير ما غضبنا إلا لأنا أخرنا عن المشورة و إنا نري أن أبا بكر كان أحق الناس بها إنه لصاحب الغار وثاني اثنين وإنا لنعرف شرفه وخيره ولقد أمره رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم باصلوة وهو حي.” إسناد جيد ولله الحمد و المنة.

Musa ibn ‘Uqbah has mentioned in his Maghazi (battles fought in Islam): “My father informed me that his father, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, was with Muhammad ibn Maslamah and ‘Umar. Muhammad ibn Maslamah took hold of the sword of Zubair and broke it (so as to prevent pandemonium). Abu Bakr then addressed the people, begged their pardon and said, “O people I had never desired leadership for myself; not a single day and not a single night, nor had I sought it openly or clandestinely.” The Muhajirin conceded what he said. ‘Ali and Zubair remarked, “We were only disillusioned because our advice was not sought.[8] Most certainly we consider Abu Bakr the most apt person for leadership. He is the companion of the cave, the second of the two and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had ordered him to lead the congregation in prayer during his lifetime.”[9]

 

Hafiz Ibn Kathir while commenting of this narration mentions:

 

وهذا لائق بعلي رضي الله عنه والذي يدل عليه الآثار من شهوده معه الصلوات وخروجه معه إلي ذي القصة بعد موت رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم كما سنورده وبذله له النصيحة والمشورة بين يديه.

This is what is behoving of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and is supported by many a narrations that inform us of his performance of prayers with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, going out with him to Dhu al Qassah (to fight the renegades) after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, dispensing sound advice to Abu Bakr and engaging in consultation with him.[10]

 

After presenting these six narrations I shall now present before you a narration that appears in Ansab al Ashraf of Ahmed ibn Yahya al Baladhuri. This narration proves in no uncertain terms that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had immediately pledged allegiance:

 

ثنا حماد بن سلمة أنبأنا الحريري عن أبي نضرة قال لما بايع الناس أبابكر اعتزل علي والزبير فبعث إليهما عمر بن الخطاب وزيد بن ثابت فأتيا منزل علي فقرعا الباب فنظر الزبير من قترة ثم رجع إلي علي فقال “هذان رجلان من أهل الجنة وليس لنا أن نقاتلهما” قال “افتح لهما” ثم خرجا معهما حتي أتيا أبابكر فقال أبوبكر “يا علي أنت بن عم رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم وصهره فتقول إني أحق بهذا الأمرلاها الله لأنا أحق به منك” قال “لاتثريب يا خليفة رسول الله أبسط يدك أبايعك” فبسط يده فبايعه ثم قال للزبير “تقول أنا بن عمة رسول الله وحواريه وفارسه وأنا أحق بهذا الأمرلاها الله أنا أحق به منك” فقال “لاتثريب يا خليفة رسول الله أبسط يدك” فبسط يده فبايعه.

‘Ali and Zubair had remained aloof from Abu Bakr when the people had pledged their allegiance to him. He sent ‘Umar ibn al Khattab and Zaid ibn Thabit toward them. They came to the house of ‘Ali and knocked on the door. Zubair had a brief look and said to ‘Ali, “these are man of paradise and it does not behove us to show resistance against them.” He said, “allow them in.” Thereafter ‘Ali and Zubair accompanied them and came to Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr addressed ‘Ali and said, “You are the cousin of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his son-in-law and you might therefore be thinking that you are most deserving of this matter. By the oath of Allah I have more right than you in this regard.” He responded, “I should not be reproached, O Khalifah of Rasulullah! Proffer your hand so that I may pledge allegiance.” Abu Bakr extended his hand and he pledged his allegiance. He thereafter said to Zubair, “you might be saying that I am the cousin of Rasulullah, his intimate associate and his horseman, therefore, I have a greater right in this matter.” He replied, “there should be no blame upon me, O Khalifah of Rasulullah! Extend your hand.” He thus extended his hand after which he pledged his allegiance.[11]

 

All these narrations unequivocally establish that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu immediately after his election as the khalifah. As for some narrations that indicate that he had only done so after six months, those are the assumptions of the narrators and are against shear reality. Again we shall notice that in all the narrations that establish his immediate bay’ah, Ibn Shihab al Zuhri does not feature anywhere. In the very same vein, all the narrations that suggest that he had only pledged allegiance six months later are narrated only through the transmission of al Zuhri. This will be elucidated in much depth in the fourth coming pages. The readers should take cognisance of this aspect.

I would like to mention here that the narration of Musa ibn ‘Uqbah which was cited earlier has been cited verbatim by the renowned Shia scholar, Ibn Abi al Hadid in his commentary of Nahj al Balaghah. He writes:

 

قال علي والزبير ما غضبنا إلا في المشورة وإنا لنري أبا بكر أحق الناس بها إنه صاحب الغار وإنا لنعرف سنه… وأمره رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم بالصلوة وهو حي.

‘Ali and al Zubair said: “We were only disillusioned because our opinion was not sought. And we assert that Abu Bakr is the most deserving of it; he is the companion of the cave. We concede his seniority in age… And Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had instructed him to lead the salah during his lifetime.”[12]

 

The gist of all the narrations is that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had, within one or two days of the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and that he had done so conceding his superiority. He had definitely not delayed the pledge till six months.

 

A Few More Narrations

There many other narrations pertaining to the bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Some of them indicate that he had immediately pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and others indicate that he had delayed his pledge initially and then within two days pledged allegiance. I shall present one narration from each of the two types of narrations very briefly by way of illustration.

 

1. Ibn Jarir al Tabari has mentioned the following in his book Tarikh al Tabari:

 

عن حبيب بن أبي ثابت قال كان علي في بيته إذا أتي فقيل له قد جلس أبوبكر للبيعة فخرج في قميص ما عليه إزار ولارداء عجلا كراهية أن يبطئ عنها حتي بايعه ثم جلس إليه و بعث إلي ثوبه فأتاه فتجلله ولزم مجلسه.

Habib ibn Abi Thabit narrates: “‘Ali was at home when he was informed that Abu Bakr was sitting to accept the bay’ah of the people. Hence, he very quickly emerged from his house with nothing but a long garb in order not to delay in pledging allegiance, hence, he pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr and subsequently sat in his gathering. He then asked for his additional clothing to be brought, clad himself with them and remained seated.[13]

 

It is unequivocally established from this narration that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had not delayed whatsoever in pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

2. Some narrations mention that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was immersed in the compilation of the glorious Qur’an and hence was unable to pledge his allegiance immediately. This narration has been cited in al Isti’ab of Ibn ‘Abdul Barr. It reads as follows:

 

لما بويع أبوبكر الصديق رضي الله عنه أبطأ علي عن بيعته وجلس في بيته فبعث إليه أبوبكر “ما أبطأ بك عني أكرهت إمارتي” فقال علي “ما كرهت إمارتك ولكني آليت أن لا أرتدي ردائي إلا إلي صلوة حتي أجمع القرآن.”

When Abu Bakr was nominated as the khalifah, ‘Ali delayed in pledging his allegiance to him. Consequently, Abu Bakr sent for him and said, “What is it that is keeping you behind from pledging your allegiance to me? Are you uneasy about my leadership?” ‘Ali said, “I am not disgruntled because of your leadership, however I have taken an oath not to wear my shawl till I do not compile the entire Qur’an[14] but with the exception of salah.”[15]

 

This narration indicates that he had delayed in giving his bay’ah because of being preoccupied in the compilation of the Qur’an. Hypothetically speaking, if we deem the narration of the compilation of the Qur’an to be credible then too can we reconcile between it and the previous narration. And that is in the following manner: ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had initially, after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, assumed that the compilation of the Qur’an and its preservation is the need of the hour, later, when brought to his attention, he realised that pledging allegiance is of greater pertinence, and ultimately joined all the other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in pledging allegiance. This is understood from other versions of this narration, for it is stated therein that he then proceeded towards Abu Bakr and pledged his allegiance.

 

Answering the False Allegations of the Shia

In this chapter I shall try to reconcile between all the narrations regarding the bay’ah, or I shall give preference to some over the other in a very concise manner. There will therefore, be many scholarly terminologies used which will be beyond the understanding of the commonality. Hence, I hope that the discussion is not a cause of boredom for them. It is as though this chapter is exclusively for the scholars. Anything which is against thorough research and is worthy of being corrected should be brought to my attention. Remember me in your supplications as well.

In the previous chapter it had been established through various narrations that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had immediately pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In this regard the narrations of al Sunan al Kubra of al Bayhaqi, Mustadrak of al Hakim, the Tarikh of Ibn Jarir al Tabari, and al Bidayah of Ibn Kathir, etc., had been presented. That was the positive angle to the discussion. The negative impression cast upon it are the narrations alluding that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not pledge allegiance for a while after the demise of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, it is pivotal for us now to identify the reliable narrations from the unreliable ones. Are these narrations authentic or not? If not then they are to be discarded; and if they are authentic then what should their correct interpretation be, and what position do they hold in light of the rules of hadith criticism.

A few aspects will be presented in light of the explanations of the leading scholars. After studying them I hope that this entire issue will become totally clear.

From amongst the narrations that reject the immediate bay’ah, the narrations which state that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not pledge allegiance as long as Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was alive — i.e. six months — are of crucial importance. Furthermore, in some narrations it is stated that none of the Banu Hashim had also pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hence, it would be apt to firstly clear the contention around these narrations.

The narrations that suggest that the bay’ah took place after six months appear in the following books: al Bukhari vol. 2, Muslim vol. 2, Musnad Abi ‘Awanah vol. 4, al Sunan al Kubra, Tarikh Ibn Jarir al Tabari vol. 3 (under the discussion of Saqifah), Ansab al Ashraf vol. 1, and many other books as well. The link of Ibn Shihab al Zuhri is found in each of the chains of transmission of the narrations which appear in the above quoted references. By contemplating over these narrations one comes to realise that additions had been made in them by some of the narrators. One such addition is the aspect of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu not pledging allegiance as long as Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was alive. And in some narrations it is mentioned to this extent that none of the Banu Hashim pledged allegiance as well. These narrations are presented below:

 

.[16] فلما توفيت فاطمة استنكر علي وجوه الناس فالتمس مصالحة أبي بكر ومبايعته ولم يكن يبايع تلك الأشهر

.[17] لم يبايع علي ابا بكر حتى ماتت فاطمة بعد ستة اشهر فلما ماتت ضرع الى صلح ابى بكر

.[18] فقال رجل للزهرى افلم يبايعه على ستة اشهر قال لا ولا احد من بنى هاشم حتى بايعه على

[19] قال معمر قلت للزهري كم مكثت فاطمة بعد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال ستة اشهر فقال رجل للزهرى فلم يبايعه علي حتي ماتت فاطمة قال ولا احد من بنى هاشم.

 

The crux of all the above quoted narrations is that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had reunited with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and pledged allegiance to him only after the demise of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha and that was six months after the demise of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Banu Hashim had likewise not pledge their allegiance in this period.

Contemplate over the wording of the different variations of the incident. The texts quoted above are portions from the narration of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Whilst the narrator (al Zuhri) is narrating the narration he is asked a question to which he responds from his own side and says, “no, nor did any of the Banu Hashim pledge allegiance in those six months”. This is most certainly not the words of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. This is the assumption of the narrator and his addition. There is a distinct difference between ‘he said’ and ‘she said’. There is no need for any other proof in this regard.

The only difference between the variations of al Bukhari and Muslim and the other sources viz. Musnad Abu ‘Awanah, Tarikh al Tabari, al Sunan al Kubra, etc., is that in the former the words “a person said to al Zuhri” or “I said to al Zuhri” have been omitted due to the narrator wanting to condense the narration; and in the latter these words are explicitly mentioned which make it clear in no uncertain terms that the aspect of the delayed bay’ah is the assumption of al Zuhri.

 

In Muslim (vol. 2), there are many things worth noting regarding al Zuhri. Making mention of them will prove fruitful. These are presented ahead.

 

1. In Muslim in the chapter regarding Wasiyah (bequests) we find an addition made by al Zuhri in the narration. It reads as follows:

 

حدثنا يحي بن يحي التميمي قال انا ابراهيم بن سعد عن ابن شهاب الزهرى عن عامر بن سعد عن ابيه قال عاد لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم…..

Sa’d said, “Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to visit me…”

 

The concluding words of the narration are worth noticing:

 

قال رثى له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من ان توفى بمكة.

He said, “Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lamented over him because he passed away in Makkah.”

 

Imam al Nawawi while commentating on this hadith in his commentary of Sahih Muslim states:

 

هذا هو كلام الراوى و ليس من كلام النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم.

This is the statement of the narrator and not part of the actual tradition of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

Thereafter he has mentioned the variant opinions of the scholars as to who is this narrator and subsequently he states:

 

قال القاضى العياض واكثر ما جاء انه من كلام الزهري.

Qadi ‘Iyad has stated that most scholars are of the opinion that this is the speech of al Zuhri.[20]

 

2. Another aspect worthy of mention is that Imam Muslim in Kitab al Ayman wa al Nudhur has stated that Ibn Shihab al Zuhri at times exclusively narrates traditions with very high chains of transmission; no other narrator co-narrates them with him. These are the comments of Imam Muslim:

 

فال ابو الحسين (مسلم بن حجاج القشيرى) هذا الحرف (قوله تعال اقامرك فليتصدق)لايرويه احد غير الزهرى قال وللزهرى نحوا من تسعين حرفا يرويه عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم لا يشاركه فيه احد باسانيد جياد.

Imam Muslim states, “this portion (come…) is not narrated by anyone besides al Zuhri. He narrates plus minus ninety narrations exclusively with sound chains of transmission without any other narrator.[21]

 

3. In Muslim (vol. 2), chapter regarding the merits of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: subchapter regarding the names of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam the following narration appears:

 

سفيان بن عيينه عن الزهرى سمع جبير بن مطعم عن ابيه ان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال انا محمد و انا احمد و انا الماحي الذى يمحى بي الكفر و انا الحاشر الذى يحشر الناس على عقبي والعاقب الذى ليس بعده نبي.

I am Muhammad, Ahmed, Mahi, the one through who Allah will dispel disbelief, Hashir, the one after who all will be resurrected, and ‘Aqib, the one after who there shall be no prophet.

 

In the third variation of this narration it is mentioned:

 

قال قلت لزهرى و ما العاقب؟قال الذى ليس بعده نبي.

He said, “I asked al Zuhri, ‘what is al ‘Aqib?’ he replied, ‘the one after who there is no nabi.”[22]

 

The ‘Ulama’ have classified this as the addition of al Zuhri. ‘Allamah Al Suyuti has stated the following in his commentary of Muwatta’ al Imam Malik (vol. 3) under this particular narration:

 

العاقب الذي ليس بعده نبي و هو مدرج من تفسير الزهرى

Al ‘Aqib; the one after who there is no nabi, this is the statement of al Zuhri.[23]

 

These few aspects that have been highlighted are only from Muslim. Some scholars have proven the additions of al Zuhri in al Bukhari as well.

Should a person require more satisfaction in this regard he should refer to the detailed discussion on Fadak. There I have presented few points regarding Ibn Shihab al Zuhri from several sources such as al Tarikh al Kabir of Imam al Bukhari, Fath al Mughith of al Sakhawi, al Faqih wa al Mutafaqqih of al Khatib al Baghdadi, etc.

It is clearly understood from the above details that the aspect of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu pledging allegiance only six month after the demise of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is not part of the actual narrations, rather it is an addition made by Ibn Shihab al Zuhri.

Now remains the issue of whether the scholars of hadith have accepted this assumption and addition of al Zuhri or have they critically analysed it and rejected it.

I pray that the readers will support the truth after studying the forth coming details.

 

The Addition of al Zuhri in Light of the Views of the Scholars of Hadith

A large number of scholars have classified this particular addition of al Zuhri to be weak and thus worth being discarded. Hence, I present before you the views of the various scholars in this regard:

 

1. Imam al Bayhaqi has stated the following in his epic work al-Sunan al Kubra (vol. 6):

 

قول الزهرى في قعود علي عن بيعة ابى بكر رضي الله عنه حتى توفيت فاطمة منقطع و حديث ابى سعيد الخدرى في مبايعته اياه حتى بويع بيعة العامةبعد السقيفة أصح.

The statement of al Zuhri regarding ‘Ali not pledging his allegiance to Abu Bakr till the demise of Fatimah is inconsistent. And the narration of Abu Sa’id al Khudri in which mention is made of his immediate pledge is sounder….[24]

 

Note:- The narration of Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu to which reference is being made in the text above has already been cited in the first chapter on the authority of al Bidayah, Mustadrak, etc. Imam Muslim and Ibn Khuzaimah have classified it as sound.

 

It should also be remembered that Imam al Bayhaqi has clarified this matter in much more unequivocal terms in his book al I’tiqad. He has stated therein that this statement of Ibn Shihab is inconsistent and it is not part of the narration of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. He writes:

 

والذى روي ان عليا لم يبايع ابا بكر ستة اشهر ليس من قول عاءشة انما هو من قول الزهري فأدرجه بعض الرواة في الحديث عن عائشة في قصة فاطمة و حفظه معمر بن راشد فرواه مفصلا وجعله من قول الزهري منقطعا من الحديث و قد روينا في الحديث الموصول عن ابي سعيد الخضري و من تابعه من اهل المغازي ان عليا بايعه في بيعة العامة بعد البيعة التي جرت في السقيفه.

And that which is narrated that ‘Ali had not given his bay’ah for six months is not the statement of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, rather it is the statement of al Zuhri. One of the narrators have included it as part of the narration of Aisha regarding the story of Fatimah. And Ma’mar, on the hand, secured the narration with all its details and clarified that this is the statement of al Zuhri which is totally separate from the narration of Aisha. And we have narrated the consistent narration of Abu Sa’id wherein it is mentioned that he had given his bay’ah with everyone else after Saqifah.[25]

 

2. In Fath al Bari (vol. 7), the battle of Khaybar, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani had stated the following:

 

و قد صحح ابن حبان و غيره من حديث ابي سعيد الخدري و غيره ان عليا بايع ابا بكر في اول الأمر و اما ما وقع في مسلم عن الزهري ان رجلا قال له لم يبايع علي ابا بكر حتي ماتت فاطمه قال لا ولا احد من بني هاشم فقد ضعفه البيهقي بان الزهري لم يسنده و ان الرواية الموصولة أصح.

Ibn Hibban and many other scholars have authenticated the narration of Abu Sa’id al Khudri in which mention is made of his immediate pledging of allegiance. As for the narration which appears in Muslim which states that someone said to al Zuhri, “‘Ali did not pledge his allegiance till the demise of Fatimah?” to which he responded by saying, “No and nor did any of the Banu Hashim.” Imam al Bayhaqi has classified the narration as weak because al Zuhri has not narrated it with consistency thus the consistent narration is sounder.[26]

 

3. Hafiz al Qastalani has stated verbatim what Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani has under the chapter pertaining to the Battle of Khaybar in his commentary of al Bukhari (8/158):

 

و قد صحح ابن حبان و غيره من حديث ابي سعيد الخدري ان عليا بايع ابا بكر في اول الأمر و اما ما في مسلم عن الزهري ان رجلا قال له لم يبايع علي ابا بكر حتي ماتت قاطمة قال ولا احد من بني هاشم فقدضعفه البيهقي بأن الزهري لم يسنده و ان الرواية الموصولة عن ابي سعيد أصح…

It is as if Qastalani has quoted Ibn Hajar verbatim. This further means that al Bayhaqi is not alone in his research. Rather the ‘ulama’ of the later centuries also concur with him in this regard.

 

I shall now present the research of Molana Fayd Abadi which he has presented in his famous book Muntaha al Kalam:

 

پس احادیث اصحاب رضی اللہ عنہم کہ شریک واقعہ (بیعت) باشند بمقتضاۓ حدیث لیس الخبر کالمعاینہ بر حدیث ام المومنین مسطور کہ حضور او در این مجامع۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ ہرگزثابت نیست رجحانے داشتہ باشد۔

The narrations of the Sahabah that were present at that time will be take preference over the narration of Aisha. Due to the hadith in which it is stated that information is not equal to witnessing with the eye. It is obvious that Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was definitely not present during that time.

 

Note:- This is a hypothetical answer based on the statements under debate being the statements of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.

 

چہ جا‌ۓ آنکہ محصلش نفی بیعت تا شش ماہ بود و محصول روایات اصحاب بیعت مرتضوی قریب وفات جناب پیغمبر صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم باشد کہ اسہل از نفی مذکوراست وقد ثبت ان الاثبات مقدم علی النفی۔

The narration regarding the bay’ah occurring after six months is basically denying immediate bay’ah and the narrations of the various Sahabah are establishing it; it is an accepted rule that establishing something takes precedence over its negation. Hence the narrations that establish the immediate bay’ah will be accepted.

 

Note:- Molana Haydar ‘Ali is not the only person who has expressed this view. Hafiz Ibn Kathir has stated the exact same under this discussion in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah.[27]

 

در روایت معرفت امام یعنی من لم یعرف امام زمانہ مات میتہ جاہلیہ، مانند آن کہ در کتب معتمدہ مندرج است موید ہمیں است کہ طول مکث در بیعت واقع نشدہ۔

It is stated in many narrations that acknowledging the Imam of the time and accepting his leadership is pivotal; whoever does not do so will die a death of ignorance. This supports the view that ‘Ali had not delayed in giving his bay’ah (so that he does not become the direct recipient of this warning).[28]

 
He concludes his discussion by making reference to the commentaries of Bukhari. He says:
 

میتوانم گفت کہ ایں روایت کہ دال بر تاخیر بیعت است بسبب عدم اتصال اسناد زہری ضعیف ست وغیر مقبول کہ منطوق آں بیعت امیر المومنین و حضرت زبیر روز اول ست مسند وموصول پس ایں البتہ اصح خواہد بود وبحمد اللہ کہ طریق تطبیق ودفع اختلاف روایات عقلا ونقلا آشکارا شد وضرورتے بدان نماند کہ گویم بیعت اولی نوعی باختفاء وثانیہ باعلانیہ واقع شدہ۔

The narration in which mention is made of the bay’ah occurring after six months is narrated through the transmission of al Zuhri. It is inconsistent and thus weak and unworthy of being accepted. And the narration of Abu Sa’id al Khudri in which mention is made of ‘Ali and Zubair pledging allegiance immediately is consistent and thus sound and acceptable. There remains no need after this explanation to say that he had pledged his allegiance twice; initially discreetly and thereafter overtly after six months.[29]

 
 

NEXT⇒Ali Pledging Allegiance to Abu Bakr continued


[1]Al Sunan al Kubra 8/143, chapter regarding fighting the rebels; al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf, p. 178; al Bidayah 5/249; Kanz al ‘Ummal 2/131.

[2]Al Sunan al Kubra 8/143; al Bidayah 5/249.

[3]Musnad Ahmed, vol. 5, the chapter containing the consistent narrations of Zaid ibn Thabit; al Bidayah 5/249.

[4]Al Bidayah 5/249; 6/302. This narration can be found in Mustadrak al Hakim vol. 3 p. 76, under the chapter regarding knowing the Sahabah.

[5]Mustadrak al Hakim 3/76, chapter regarding knowing the Sahabah; al Sunan al Kubra 8/143, chapter regarding combating the rebels; Kanz al ‘Ummal 3/131.

[6] Kanz al ‘Ummal 3/137

[7]Al Bidayah 5/246-248

[8]Note:- The words “we were only disillusioned because our advice was not sought” ostensibly appears to be very harsh; and might hint that a grievous conflict had ensued. All I would want to say is that by doing an all-encompassing study of the narrations related to a particular event, a person will realise that many a times in some narrations/versions of the event there will be somewhat exaggeration added by a narrator.

This is exactly what has happened in this narration of Abu Sa’id. The cause being that in all the other narrations beside the narration of Abu Sa’id the words “we were only dejected…” do not feature. This shows that one of the narrators of this particular narration has related this in his own words.

It is beyond doubt that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not present at Saqifah Bani Sa’idah where the Sahabah had convened and elected the khalifah. And for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be dejected because of not being part of this great occurrence is not far-fetched; rather it is absolutely normal. This was a misunderstanding that had transpired due to their divergence in opinion which is not condemned at all by the people of understanding and knowledge. Furthermore, this conflict had been resolved when ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu within one or two days from his appointment as the khalifah. The narrators have portrayed this minor conflict to be an outrageous one, whereas in actual fact it is not. The narration itself tells us that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu considered Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be most deserving of the caliphate and that he had expounded upon the reasons for his worthiness as well. This is unequivocal evidence of the fact that this was a short-lived dispute and that it had not engendered enmity between them.

Hypothetically speaking, the scholars also mention that disconcertion is of two types: 1) caused because of love and 2) engendered because of hate. The second type does not require any explanation. However, the first one usually occurs when a friend does something against the desire of his friend or unexpected by him. This is exactly what had happened in the incident of the election of Abu Bakr as the khalifah; ‘Ali and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma had not expected the Sahabah to go ahead with such an important issue without their presence because of their intimate relationship with one another. Their disconcertion was on this basis and not on the basis of hatred.

[9] Mustadrak al Hakim 3/66, al Sunan al Kubra 8/152-153, al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf p. 179, al Bidayah 5/250; 6/302.

[10]Al Bidayah 6/302, under the events of the 11 A.H.

[11]Ansab al Ashraf 1/585.

[12]Sharh Nahj al Balaghah 1/154, discussion regarding Saqifah and the dispute of the people after the death of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

[13]Tarikh Ibn Jarir al Tabari 3/201, chapter regarding Saqifah.

[14]  The following is for the attention of the scholars. This narration ostensibly is inharmonious with the other narrations that I have presented regarding the bay’ah. It should be noted that: this narration is mostly narrated by Ibn Sirin. Al Suyuti has, with reference to Ibn Hajar, stated the following regarding this narration in his book al Itqan:

قال ابن حجر “هذا الأثر ضعيف لانقطاعه وبتقدير صحته فمراده بجمعه حفظه في صدره.”

Ibn Hajar has mentioned: “This narration is unauthentic because of its inconsistency. And the meaning would be “preserving it in his bosom,” if we deem it to be authentic.”

This narration is also narrated through the transmission of ‘Ikrimah. However it is inconsistent as well because ‘Ikrimah did not meet ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as is stated by Ibn Abi Hatim al Razi in his book Kitab al Marasil, p. 101.

Ibn Hajar has likewise made mention of this judgement of Ibn Abi Hatim in his book al Tahdhib; he has cited it under the biography of ‘Ikrimah.

In conclusion, the consistent and authentic narrations in this regard are to be given preference over the unauthentic and inconsistence ones.

[15]Al Isti’ab vol. 2; Al Isabah 2/244.

[16]Al Bukhari, vol. 2, at the end of the discussion of Khaybar; Muslim, vol. 2, chapter regarding the ruling of Fayʾ.

[17]Ansab al Ashraf, 1/586.

[18]Tarikh Ibn Jarir: Discussion of Saqifah; Musnad Abi ‘Awanah, 4/142.

[19]Al Sunan al Kubra, 6/300: chapter regarding the distribution of Fayʾ and Ghanimah.

[20]Muslim ( publication of Nur Muhammady), 4/40: Kitab al Wasiyah

[21]Muslim, vol. 2, Kitab al Ayman wa al Nudhur: prohibition of taking an oath in the name of anyone other than Allah.

[22]Muslim, 2/261, chapter regarding the merits of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: subchapter regarding the names of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

[23] Tanwir al Halik (Egyptian publication), 3/163.

[24]Al Sunan al Kubra, 6/308: chapter regarding the distribution of Fayʾ and Ghanimah.

[25]Al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf (Egyptian publication): p 180.

[26]Fath al Bari, 7/ 399. Note:- Ml Shams al Haq al Afghani has stated the following:

قول أبي سعيد أن عليا بايع الصديق وقت بيعة العامة أصح:

لأنه متصل وقول الزهري منقطع والمتصل راجح علي المنقطع.

و لانه قول اصحابي و الزهري من صغار التابعين و قول الصحابي أرجح.

ولان عليا قيل امامة الصديق في الصلوة بامر النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم من غير تاخير فكيف يتاخر بييعة الخلافة

ولانه لم يقبل الخلافة بعد قتل عثمان الا كرها لدفع الفتنة مع انه لم يكن حينئذ من يدانيه فضلا عمن يساويه فكيف يتامل في البيعة عند وجود الصديق

The narration of Abu Sa’id al Khudri is sounder due to these reasons:

  1. Because it is consistent and the narration of al Zuhri is inconsistent and the former always takes precedence over the latter.
  2. Because it is a statement of a Sahabi and al Zuhri is a junior Tabi’i. The Statement of a Sahabi naturally takes precedence.
  3. ‘Ali had accepted the Imamah of Abu Bakr in salah due to the order of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam so why would he be tentative in accepting his caliphate?
  4. After the assassination of ‘Uthman he had reluctantly accepted caliphate whereas there was no one parallel to him in merit so why would he be desirous of it in the presence of Abu Bakr?

Irshad al Sari, 8/ 158 (translation same as above).

[27]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 5/286.

[28]Muntaha al Kalam, p 56.

[29]  Ibid, p 57.

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